This is a small interview with a data scientist from AT&T about his day and life as a data scientist. This short video is shared RCR Wireless News, a quite popular youtube channel. In this video, Karthik Rajagopalan, who has completed his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Arizona State University talks about the data scientist daily tasks and what all you need to get there.
AT&T Data Scientist - Karthik Rajagopalan
Below are the interview questions and answers:
Q1 - What does a Data Scientist do?
There is always a constant stream of getting data, looking at data, shaping data, coming up with different approaches. What am I going to create today? What sort of questions I have and what I am trying to answer. Which questions are relevant to get to the result? And hence for every problem, we have a solution approach that we lay down before starting any analysis.
Q2 - What is your background?
I have a background in engineering, I have degrees in mechanical, industrial and electrical. Basically a math-heavy background. My Ph.D. is in the area of solid state Physics, this area deals with working of semiconductors. Earlier, I used to make chips that go into the cell phones and the cell towers. It was mainly concerned with technology and making cellular communications happen. I was brought up in a math-heavy background that helped me get into data science.
Q3 - What does it take to be a data scientist?
Data science requires a lot of imagination and once you have the imagination the next thing you need is the math skills. The engineering and analysis habit that you develop comes in very handy when you do the data analysis. It's just that the scale is bigger.
Q4 - How do you stay on the cutting edge?
We read a lot, data scientist read a lot. We have to because a new tool comes out every day. There is a new technique to apply to solve a certain problem, a technique that has previously not been used. I compete in data science competitions, global competitions. Through these competitions, I interact a lot with people around the world who are doing data science. They serve as a platform to understand different applications of data science to different problems. Right now, I am working on a project where we are improving the digital experience of the customer. We look at customer care data, we see where the issues are. This helps us to fix the issues quickly and improve customer satisfaction.
Q5 - What tools do you use?
R is one of the basic tools that we use. Other than that we use Python a lot. Depending on the situation we sometimes also use the visualization tools that are out there in the market. But with R and Python, we pretty much take care of all what we need.
Q6 - Advice for aspiring data scientist?
Depends on the background the person has and where they are trying to go. They can move into data science, data development or the wrangling part of data. For data science, as I said, creativity is most important. Get to solve more problems on computational platforms, try to get internships and work as much as possible. You also need to have a math background. Other than that, be familiar with tools such as R and Python. These tools will help you play with data.
So this was a peek into the life of the AT&T data scientist. Hope you enjoyed it! Here are a few key takeaways -